Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Kayaking 2 star course

As I am typing this, I feel out of place. I know for a fact that I’m on land in the comfort of my house, but my head feels as if it’s still out at sea. I feel like I’m still riding the waves. My poor head’s bobbing up and down. It’s something like giddiness. Well, I guess I cannot forget the sea, after being with it the whole day long, through sunshine and rain.

From Monday to Wednesday, I had three consecutive days of kayaking lessons at Paddle Culture (at Big Splash, East Coast). The course was organized for sec 2s and 3s to attain the BB kayaking badge required for the founders award (most prestigious).

Today, we paddled out on a short expedition to MacDonald’s, where we rested for a short break before heading back, when it rained.

Now I’m proud to announce, finally, after much contact with salt water, paddles, life vests, spray skirts and kayaks (both plastic and fiber glass), that I’ve cleared my kayaking 2 star personal skill course!

Let me share with you what I’ve learned:
1) Tides and tidals
2) Bracing
3) Low brace
4) High brace
5) Low brace on a turn
6) Expedition planning
7) Kayak to swimmer rescue
8) Stern rudder
9) Bow rudder
10) TX rescue (with one rescuer)
11) Spray skirt (hooray! I’ve finally worn a skirt!)
12) Eskimo drill (if that’s what it’s called)
13) Deep sea entry

Well, that’s quite a list…but for the asking price of $67.50 which I paid (which my BB company will try to subsidize a bit), it’s only fair that I’ve learnt that much.

Other than skills, I took home other things.
1) Fun. It’s truly exhilarating to paddle at sea with the choppy waves clashing onto your plastic cyclone kayaks as you frantically try to maneuver it to stay in the right direction.
2) Physical training. Paddling requires strength and stamina.
3) Pain. Ok, maybe that’s exaggerated. I should say…slight pain. Yup, when I alighted from the kayak at shore, the strong wave pushed the kayak onto shore abruptly and bumped onto my leg, causing a 5 cm surface abrasion. I couldn’t get away in time as I was pulling it up to shore. Fortunately, the pain was in the ‘little to bearable’ range.
4) Free entry to Big Splash. Yes, free. My senior (Joel Lau) decided to find out if we could play at big splash after the course, and surprisingly, we could! It was empty except for a few wild Malays. It was an adrenaline pumping ride down the steep slide. It was fast, rapid, and somewhat scary. I went down trice…and decided that it was enough, after witnessing my other seniors receiving slight bruises after ‘flying’ off the slide a little and bumping down due to the quick speed. Ouch!
5) Lastly, a free ride in a 5 seater Peugeot 206 two door hatchback, and a free chocolate ice cream from a shop in Katong Mall called Awfully Chocolate, all courtesy of Officer Calvin. I hitched a ride to the 55 bus stop after Katong Convent. I learned that the 206 is a manual car, with rather cramped fabric rear seats, and his was the last car in production to be purchased! Lucky guy. Calvin, if you happen to be reading this post, I’d like to thank you for treating me to the wonderfully thick brown chocolate ice cream!

That’s all folks!

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